Waco and McLennan County Prepare to Fight Illegal Gambling

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Elected leaders in the City of Waco and McLennan County are working together to combat illegal gambling in their jurisdictions by introducing new and stronger legislations on eight-liner game rooms.

The officials from both city and county met at the McLennan County/City Intergovernmental Relations Committee Meeting, which was held at Waco City Hall on Monday. County Judge Scott Felon said that he and his colleagues want illegal game room operations to “jump outside the county.”

Commenting on the issue, Mayor Kyle Deaver said that every member of the council had problems with several illegal eight-liner operations that are running in their respective districts. He added that while there are some legitimate operations, there are a bunch of illegal ones which are related to other “ancillary crime issues” and these are the ones that spell trouble for them.

Since game rooms are not easy to control, the mayor said that the best approach is for both McLennan County and City of Waco to join other counties and cities in introducing stricter, more rigid laws.

New legislation to be introduced during the next Assembly session

The elected officials are working to add McLennan County to a list of several counties which have already been approved to regulate illegal eight-liner game room operations. Officials shared that the local legislation is currently in the pre-filing stage, as the best options and paths are being discussed.

The city and country officials will ask the state representatives to introduce the new legislation during the next session which will be held in Austin. Mayor Deaver said that they are hoping to get some helping hand with the legislature this spring.

Executive Coordinator for the Waco City Manager’s Office, Ashley Nystrom said that at their next meeting, she and her colleagues would ask the commissioner’s court as well as the city council for support resolutions.

Nystrom also said that even though they are not against House Bill 78, they are looking for other options to achieve their goal of bringing illegal gaming operations under stricter statutes. House Bill 78 or HB 78 is a state bill that allows the locals to cast votes in order to decide the future of eight-liner operations. Nystrom said they are simply going towards a different direction, and are not necessarily opposed to the bill.

It is unsure what the effect of the new laws will be at the moment.

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